Board Minutes 1999 09

Minutes of the LION Board Meeting
September 29, 1999

Present: Valerie Harrod, DUR, Sandy Long, MAD, Sue Berescik, EHP, Marie Shaw, ELH, William Deakyne, ELY, Sandy Ruoff, GUI, Donna Lolos, BRB, Gale Bradbury, LED, Marcia Trotta, MRD, Howard Einsohn, MXC, Barbara van der Lyke, MTC, Kelly Marszycki, OLY, Elsie Jenkins, NWC, Ed Murray, NLN, Linda Rusczek, MDT, Mildred Hodge, MOC, Leslie Scherer, WAL, Lew Daniels, WSB, Susan Donovan, STC, Jan Day, WBR, Pat Johnson, Bib, Nancy Wardell, Circ, Marcia Lewis, PAC, Ann Montgomery Smith, PCL, Bill Edge, Mark Hewes, and Rick Widlansky, LION. Absent: ESX, MDF.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Sandy Ruoff at the Russell Library, Middletown, CT at 9:35 AM.

II. ADDITIONS TO ADGENDA: Sandy announced that the agenda would be in a different order today, with Discussion/Action Items held until later in order to accommodate members who must be late. Three additions to the Agenda had been e-mailed and were distributed today. Marcia Trotta moved and Valerie Harrod seconded a motion to approve the additions to the agenda. All voted in favor.

III. PUBLIC COMMENT: None.

IV. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: William Deakyne asked a question for clarification on page 3 item 3 of the August minutes regarding the replacement/upgrade of dumb staff terminals with PC’s not being on the LION Schedule of Fees. Bill confirmed that it was the upgrade/replacement issue that was not covered by the schedule, versus initial installation. Elsie moved and Leslie seconded a motion to approve the minutes of August 24th, 1999 as distributed. All voted in favor.

V. TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer’s Report as of August 31, 1999 with comments had been e-mailed and mailed prior to the meeting. William Deakyne asked if there was a reserve amount segregated for Capital Expenditure for the replacement of the LION system. Bill replied that the Reserve Account balance is undesignated and is for any purpose including both capital and operating expenses. Bill reminded members that the third (final) payment for upgrade to frame relay is due in 1999/2000. It was the consensus to accept the report.

VI. REPORTS:

1. LION Staff Reports

a.  Executive Director – Bill reported that it was a good uptime month. Release 180 was loaded and it was one of the smoothest loads in LION’s history, thanks to Mark, Rick and Paul’s work. There were 2.5 hours of unplanned downtime. Release 180 incorporates all Y2K fixes to Dynix applications and incorporates the Library of Congress change of the LCCN from 2 digits to three. OCLC is still not Y2K compliant.

On August 25th we received an upgraded quote from Ameritech on the upgrade of our system. There are two options: 1 is the "box only" moving from Data General platform to Sun Ultra Enterprise platform which is $182,000 and gives us the hardware to support up to 800 simultaneous users originally configured and priced at 300 users re licenses, etc; the second option includes the first but would also include the Horizon Sunrise conversion on the new hardware at $207,000 and would also add the hardware for a web server and all conversion services to move our files to the new structure that would be used with Sunrise. These are unnegotiated prices and would need refinement before any contract.

Bill reported that he now spends approx. 70% of his time on PCL work versus LION work.

b.  Associate Director – Mark has distributed his monthly report and had nothing to add to it. A question was raised re EBSCO and why some libraries’ accounts did not appear; Mark said the sales department had made a mistake in not including directly-contacted libraries, but the mistake has been corrected. Reports could be produced for those libraries. Valerie said she has been adding EBSCO host numbers to her serials circ but not sure which numbers to use. It was suggested it might be fairest to count just full text articles, not abstracts. Some libraries report information about searches but don’t count them in circulation statistics. It was the consensus to incorporate the EBSCO statistics into the next LION annual report. The statistics go back to 1998

c.  Systems Manager – Rick said almost all of his work in the last month has been network related, not Dynix work which shows the direction we’re going. East Lyme High School has had a major building renovation and the LION term server failed but LION system is finally back up and running; Woodbridge is ready to move back to their new facility; Mohegan switched all dumb pacs to PC’s; Essex internet service has been a problem due to Bibliomation; Branford isp had to be switched to network address translation since none were available from Bibliomation. All libraries can see their traffic, their bandwidth usage for the day, the week and ever since the system was implemented. See Rick’s report last month for the url and call Rick for help in using this monitoring program. The need for more bandwidth is still a judgment call and needs some interpretation of the data. This kind of work shows we can do WAN management. Rick said in October our SNET contract for circuits and for maintenance of equipment are up; so if LION doesn’t do PCL we have to do a new contract ASAP; Data General contract is also up October 1st; Dynix is up in December. Marie commented that Rick and Paul have provided great service and work on some complicated technical problems. Rick said we can now see quite a bit of equipment that he can take care of so that maintenance contracts aren’t needed if we can buy or readily get spares. Bill said that PCL is going to use time and materials contracts rather than upfront annual maintenance fees but that the other 2 networks are not as confident in time and materials as LION is because they don’t have the hands-on experience that LION has.

2. Committee Reports:

PAC Committee – Marcia Lewis reported that the self-help flip charts will be ready within two weeks and will be mounted on the web page and libraries will be able to print as many as they want.

Bibliographic Committee – Pat Johnson said they met last week primarily for an informational meeting – see Mark’s report especially about BIB.TOPIC.WORDS. This index would require an upgrade to the present Dynix system but would be great to have, so should be looked at again after a decision is made about PCL if LION stays with Dynix. CLN has adopted a new standard for data being sent in to ReQuest. Mark and Karan will be attending CLN training; it is a different standard than LION, OCLC, and LC and might require Bib manual changes. They also discussed the addition of the 856 tag and will have a recommendation next month. Re BIB.TOPIC.WORDS, on Dynix Mark said this is very similar to basic service provided by SIRSI and III. If LION did it, it would take a lot of LION staff to build it. If PCL doesn’t come to fruition, LION will address this again.

Circulation Committee – No Report.

Personnel Committee – No Report.

Finance Committee – No Report. The major open items are the upgrade of staff dumb terminals to PC’s and the Schedule of Fees.

Planning Committee – The Planning Committee has not met due to PCL activities. The informal format of the July 8th meeting had great value since it was more inclusive than a planning committee, and agenda items today might be addressed in such a format. A show of hands indicated approximately half of LION Board members have been involved in PCL committees, etc.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Sandy Ruoff announced that (WAL) Kathy Campion’s mother had died after a long illness and members may want to send her a card. Sandy announced a short break. The meeting re-convened at 10:30 a.m. Valerie announced the Administrators Round Table on Tuesday, November 9th when the State Librarian will discuss the legislative agenda for 2000 and a speaker will address Y2K and contingency planning.

VII. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:

1.  Status of Partnership of CT Libraries:

Ann Montgomery Smith reported that the re-scheduled annual PCL membership meeting would be on Tuesday, October 26th at Wallingford. Coffee at 9:30, meeting at 10:00 a.m.

The Board has been firming up the budget, coming up with assessments that are fair, etc. There is a push to clarify policies, to re-visit the Business Plan and to approve it; there has been a call for two-tiered negotiating team to meet with SIRSI to include technical people like Mark Hewes to work on the migration and databases as well as librarians to work on the contract itself, like Linda Rusczek. A Merger Team is being setup with library people and network people to assure the merger is a cooperative venture. A Policy task force has been setup to formulate the guiding principles that will make PCL work. Ann opened the floor for questions, which follow with answers:

a. When will info be mailed to PCL members? The intention is prior to the annual meeting but PCL doesn’t have firm date.

b.  What is the status of the Asset Valuation of the 3 networks? There has been a recommendation on the asset part from an accountant that "cash is cash" but not a recommendation on a "credit" for contribution. Bill said there are 3 major problems: 1) Is the budget, as put together based on the combination of 3 networks and adjusted by the move to SIRSI, realistic; 2) It is still not clear who moves when, so the budget has to account for transition costs for all 3 systems in phased implementation, which means a timeline budget is needed month by month over 3 fiscal years until the end of the third migration; 3) How do you know what the budgeted assessments are until you know who the players are? If you try to divide the budget by program, such as WAN support ILS, etc, you have to know how many libraries make the "magic number" to be able to fund/staff the operation with the depth needed. At this point, based on FY2001, all transition done, the budget comes out dollar neutral in the combination of the 3 networks. But for any given library, the figures are all over the map, some increase, some decrease. Libraries will have one document with an assessment for services budget by the PCL annual meeting and will have to decide if they can/will buy the service. Re the equity issue of cash, the PCL Board adopted a cash reserve policy of 90 days worth of operating budget: on a $2.7 million/year budget, 90 days worth of operating budget is all the cash LION and CONNECT combined have now, which means there is no money available for transition costs. These costs will turn into a one-time assessment cost and the issue is who will pay the higher number.

The PCL Asset Valuation Committee discussed the cash, the equipment and the liabilities; they used the same formula for all 3 networks but most equipment is of no value. Staff were eliminated in the equation. Liabilities are the sticky part; the accountant says ‘bring no liabilities to the merger,’ but this is not palatable to Bibliomation.

 

2. PCL Discussion:

Karen Smith, who could not be present today, asked that an item be on today’s agenda to discuss whether LION should continue with PCL. Marie Shaw read a statement from Karen and moved that LION, recognizing the effort of many of its members and members of other consortia, regretfully withdraws from membership in PCL. William Deakyne seconded the motion. Copies of Karen’s statement of 10 points as follows were distributed:

-My library cannot afford the proposed increases.

-Shouldn’t we all have more PC’s before starting on a system that is only used effectively when using a PC?

-How many libraries will be in PCL? We cannot expect all LION, CONNECT, and BIBLIOMATION libraries to join. There will be some that drop out. Will this affect the budget?

-I have voiced my concerns on the reserve and other large costs at finance meetings.

-All libraries should be made aware of the costs as they are being worked on now that most of the background is worked out. I hope that individual costs for LION libraries are available at this meeting. And that cost for the other consortia are also available to make comparisons.

-Paying up front is a problem for my library. Is it for others? This means paying for the whole year in advance.

-Where are the cost savings for equal service?

-What SUPERIOR functionality is available that we do not have now?

-What is the staff of PCL going to look like? Who? Have they been approached? At what cost?

-I am concerned about representation. Isn’t it time for a users group or other similar set up?

-I believe that PCL is a good idea whose time is NOT now. It would be wonderful for the libraries and for their patrons to have one seamless library across the state. I believe that we have a long way to go to get there however. Some of the PCL finance members almost came to blows across the table. There are really too many things to iron out before a PCL that is beneficial to libraries can be a reality. Let’s get on with the business that we are in – LION, and make the best consortium in the state. Who knows, maybe we will be so great that others will want to join us and LION will be the PCL we dreamed of.

-Karen also cast her vote by proxy in favor of the motion; however, the LION bylaws do not allow for a vote by proxy. A long and lively discussion ensued.

PCL September 20th Board minutes say each library will be assessed one time $8,700 and Bibliomation libraries an additional $10,000 the following year. If the LION Reserve Fund in the bank is divided by the number of LION libraries and $8,700 is added, LION members are really paying $26,000 versus Bibliomation libraries $18,700.

We can also get a whole new system for $207,000 from Dynix. (Valerie Harrod)

The East Lyme Public Library gets 95% of its budget from the taxpayers, who have already footed the bill for the replacement of the LION system (looking at the $427,000 balance on hand). Merger at this time looks like merger with a bankrupt organization, PCL, that unlike LION has no assets. The East Lyme Library won’t be able to get the $8,700 assessment from the Town

In LION, East Lyme High School is a fully participating member, not a branch. In other networks, schools, as branches, have pacs only and run a separate mini stand-alone (ILS) system.

The "carrot" of Waterford-Groton joining PCL is not going to happen, based on recent Waterford discussions.

Rumor from 2 sources has it that there will be a contract buyout for $100,000 for each of the 3 networks’ executive directors; is it true? (William Deakyne)

In the transition costs there is a provision for severance pay, by a formula yet to be worked out, for any employees of any of the 3 networks, whose position is eliminated and who is not offered a comparable position in PCL. There will be only one executive director. (Bill Edge)

For a school library, which has paid the LION membership rates for the past 14 years, which we believed included reserves for the next system, to be offered less than full membership (in PCL) is an insult. An increase of 21% does not give us credit for what we’ve put into LION for 14 years.

When the school libraries now operating as branches of the public library were investigated, the school libraries are operating stand-alone circ systems and considered a branch because they have a PAC terminal. I can do that now by getting on the Internet; it is not a solution for East Lyme High School. We’re being offered so much less than we have now that it is totally unacceptable. (Marie Shaw)

This (discussion) is a little premature since the PCL Board hasn’t finalized assessments yet. At this time, larger libraries seem to go down in cost while smaller ones have increased costs and LION has many smaller libraries; but nothing is certain yet. (Leslie Scherer)

The time frame is of concern; we don’t have enough financial information to make this kind of decision now. (Elsie Jenkins)

Leslie is right and Karen originally thought our meeting today would follow the PCL annual meeting when more info would be available. (Marcia Trotta)

Karen did fax her statement and motion on Monday (after the revised PCL time frame was known). (Marie Shaw)

The PCL annual meeting will adopt a schedule of fees and services; they will be fixed in stone as of that meeting. Only then can a library figure out what its costs will be and the services it wants. (Bill Edge)

Only then does this (discussion) make any sense. In addition, some individual libraries at that time may say they don’t care what LION does, they are joining PCL anyway. The financial structure of LION may change because of individual library decisions. Marcia Trotta. This is scaring Bibliomation because many libraries may dropout. (Bill Edge)

Looking at East Lyme, the school costs increases 21% and the public library drops 18% but the public library can’t ever transmit its savings to the school library. (Bill Deakyne)

PCL budget is totally unclear and we can’t do that in our own institutions. Biggest problem is that it’s going to be the small institutions, small libraries in small communities that will drop out; they can’t afford stand-alone systems and will lose the benefits of a bigger group. We should wait; we don’t have a clear vision of where PCL is going. (Barbara van der Lyke)

If some large libraries migrate out of LION, doesn’t preclude LION picking up new members. (William Deakyne)

Question is if LION loses members, do we have to cut staff to the point we can’t operate. (Bill Edge)

We’re so dependent on networks but we (LION) don’t have staff depth; the more libraries involved the more depth of staff you can afford. (Leslie Scherer)

Would LION staff comment if it is true and are they concerned that LION either goes ahead with PCL or stays with Dynix? (Ed Murray)

LION could explore other options, like SIRSI, but we don’t know the pricing. Could we buy SIRSI? Not outright – close to a million dollars. Don’t know if we could lease it. Outsourcing is the only way PCL can pull it off. (Bill Edge)

One of the original reasons for initiating PCL was the LION staff concern in the recent past about the lack of development Dynix products. Is that still a concern? (Ed Murray)

Mark Hewes replied that Ameritech makes too much money on the maintenance of existing product lines; some other companies have the same situation. Functionality of the Ameritech system is still higher than all the other systems we looked at but the interface is bad. Dynix is not an easy system to administer; takes a long time to learn how. The entire Sunrise suite of software won’t be finished till 2002. III also doesn’t have a full product yet; they’re making a lot of money on maintenance of existing systems too.

FY2001 and 2002 if we stay on Dynix upgraded and stay LION, costs are going to go up. There’s no way LION could support network technology, graphical interface, high bandwidth services, etc; but I can’t say how much it’s going to go up. (Bill Edge)

Back to the issue of the smaller libraries. I love the SIRSI system especially from the patron point of view – it’s easier to navigate; and OLY could probably pay for it. But smaller libraries often go for a small stand-alone because they can afford it. PCL would be missing the boat if it doesn’t have an attractive package to offer to small libraries. (Kelly Marszycki)

PCL must make a distinction between the transition costs of the 3 existing networks and the separate issue of the appropriate one-time membership cost for a new member coming from the outside. (Bill Edge)

We want to remember the issue of replacing dumb terminals with PC’s and at some point we talked about some of LION’s reserve going towards that. (Sue Donovan)

It is reasonable for the LION Board to express an opinion about the policy issue of how assessment formulas are made; the transition cost could be assessed in a form other than a flat fee per library, but when you do that it becomes easier for small libraries but more expensive for large ones. But this is a policy issue that has not yet been set by PCL. (Bill Edge)

When Leap started, members were proud to have taken it on when the State didn’t; when about half of us joined LION, we got State funds; now the State Library has just gotten $500,000 from the State for its system. With 90 some libraries (in PCL) it seems that there should be some State funding. (Valerie Harrod)

Realistically, politically it won’t happen now. (Sandy Ruoff)

Concern about the governance of PCL; it’s removed from the LION model now of 1 library 1 vote. (Sue Berescik)

PCL separately itemizes services for separate charges, rather than every library paying for everything. Internet use gets muddy. (Bill Edge)

Responding to the question of the SIRSI cost to LION, CONNECT asked for a quote for a 600-user system and it was double the cost quoted to PCL per user. (Ann Montgomery Smith)

If LION and CONNECT go (PCL), they get the minimum rate for all 3, $480/month per user; if CONNECT or LION goes alone they have to pay a higher rate.

During the last week a lot of thinking about resolving the assessment dilemma has been going on. (Ann Montgomery Smith)

The way PCL is set up, you pay all of the big charges up front to be in the network. The way LION had done it, the larger libraries that use all of the system tend to come out well; CONNECT and Bibliomation have many larger libraries than LION.

It’s not surprising SIRSI would tell CONNECT or LION that it would cost them more than one PCL system; that’s the way of business.

It is surprising because Dynix always took the other view, that it was better to sell a lot of small systems and get the maintenance money.

It may mot be true, but SIRSI says they don’t want to administer 90 some contracts; they want fewer, larger contracts.

Can SIRSI manage a system this large? They re-wrote the database management system since 1997 and got rid of the technical issue. The biggest system SIRSI has done is merging 3 separate systems or more in Georgia, to be online in October. They have gotten suburban Chicago and Montgomery County.

Why is this (PCL) so hard? Haven’t other states done it? Other states have had money, state money, and state leadership. Are there grant possibilities for PCL? Yes, but it may not be easy.

Back to small libraries, they can’t afford such a large increase and would never want or use a great number of terminals, which would drive the per terminal cost down, so; they can’t look at it that way, the savings isn’t there. If we stay as LION, need to increase cost but in smaller percentages. (Gale Bradbury)

Our own boards would see that as reasonable. (Barbara van der Lyke)

Also it’s doable for small libraries because our investment is still there, our contributions over the years. We won’t have lost the equity. (Marie Shaw)

You would eat up about half the cash reserves for the Dynix upgrade not including PC’s. (Bill Edge)

The Middletown Board is concerned about losing voting strength; from 1 out of 22 to essentially no vote except representation through user groups is a big concern, or even if it becomes 1 vote out of 100. The size of the organization becomes unwieldy. (Linda Rusczek)

We’ve always looked at LION as an organization not a vendor; how much say do you get in Baker & Taylor? It is a different culture. (Elsie Jenkins)

It could be easier for towns to swallow if we could get grant funding first. (Kelly Marszycki)

It takes a lot of time to write grants, it’s very competitive; the funds are not available for quite a while after they’re written. (Barbara van der Lyke)

We really have to do it now. It’s time to do it or stop. We shouldn’t wait another year to see if we can get the funds. We’ve invested a lot of time and money in this. This is a huge opportunity lost; if three systems that all need to change and for once we’d be on the same page. (Leslie Scherer)

I agree, but we shouldn’t do it this month. (Sandy Ruoff)

I agree. (Leslie Scherer)

Marcia Trotta moved that the motion be tabled until after the PCL meeting and Linda Rusczek seconded it. All voted in favor with one abstention, Barbara van der Lyke.

 

First addition to the agenda of Discussion/Action Items:

It is requested that a LION Board member be appointed to the PCL Merger Committee to begin meeting immediately on the important issues of assessments, staffing, the business plan, the corporate merger. It was the consensus that LION should do this.

PAC Access via the Web: (staff)

An email about this was sent on September 22nd. After a lot of explanation from Bill about the problems, access available, system capacity, etc., it was decided to give up 5 of the 10 licenses now "reserved" for Partnership, and that we needed to have everything written down to be able to move forward on this issue.

Status of Y2K preparation (staff report):

A document was issued in February; we’re basically there and can remove the word ‘draft’ from the February document and post it on the website. Need to remember all the things we sell and support at LION, Inc. are OK but if it is dependent on another vendor LION can’t guarantee it.

VIII. OLD BUSINESS: Bill and the Finance Committee still have the responsibility to respond to East Lyme’s desire to upgrade to PC’s from staff dumb terminals.

IX. NEW BUSINESS: None, other than next meeting date. Due to conflict with the PCL date, the next LION meeting will be Friday, October 22nd at 9:30 a.m. at the Russell Library, Middletown. Mitchell College is in charge of refreshments.

X. ADJOURNMENT: Marcia Trotta moved and Elsie Jenkins seconded a motion to adjourn and all voted in favor at 12:35 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra R. Long, Secretary

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